A number of willing volunteers will be jumping out of an aeroplane at 10,000 feet and freefalling for 5000 feet before floating back to earth on a tandem skydive. They are doing this to help raise the funds to enable Andi Markham and the Sutton Coldfield based KidsUK team to continue to share the great message in the unique, fun and unforgettable way they do with thousands of children in our local schools. Many children in Sutton Coldfield will recognise Andi and of course his friends Jack and Grandad. They’re hoping to raise £2000 by doing this.
Can you help? You can donate online by visiting www.KidsUK.org
Can You help by becoming a KidsUK SkyDiver Yourself? (There are still a couple of SkyDiver places left. For information please email Andi on info@KidsUK.org)
Kidz UK appreciate any support you are able to offer
There are few of us who don’t look forward to having our hair cut and styled, a perfect manicure or a spray tan. A little pampering makes everyone feel wonderful and is worth its weight in gold.
However, people lead such busy lives it is not always possible to visit a salon when you work until late or have small children. There are also many people with limited personal mobility or without transport.
She explains: “Style Envy was created for busy people and those who aren’t able to travel or arrange childcare. Our client base includes executives who work long hours, older people who are unable to leave their homes, and small children whose parents work full time.
“I believe everyone deserves to be pampered and think of us as inclusive – not exclusive. We offer everything you would expect from a luxury salon in the convenience and comfort of your home.”
Although the variety of services and products is extensive, Style Envy pride itself on a full range of pamper packages for weddings, proms, and special occasions. The Sutton Coldfield team will even travel to wedding venues to ensure brides look perfect throughout the day.
Hair Style Envy Aveda-trained stylists use only Aveda hair products, which are made from plant and flower extracts and completely natural. They specialise in ‘hair up’ for special occasions and offer an impressive range of styles for all lengths of hair.
Nails Style Envy manicures include Shellac varnish, which is applied like a polish, set under a UV lamp, and lasts for up to two weeks. Most importantly, it doesn’t dull, smudge, chip or damage the nail and can be removed easily.
Body Style Envy use Sienna X, which is the leading tanning system in the UK. It contains moisturising ingredients that nourish the skin and is available in varying strengths.
Style Envy also feature in Recommended Magazine Sutton Coldfield
For over a hundred years Rolls Royce has produced cars that are the last word in luxury, quality and exclusivity. Have you spotted any recently in Walmley or Sutton Coldfield? Naturally, they are extremely expensive but, if you shop carefully, you too can join the millionaires club and own a car that is also an investment. Here are the ones to go for:
Rolls Royce Silver Shadow (1965 to 1980)
As stately as the queen and as understated as a Barbour jacket, the Silver Shadow was the first modern Rolls Royce. This car was an exercise in craftsmanship; the Connolly hide seats were hand stitched, the burr walnut dash was hand polished and only the finest lamb’s wool would do for the carpets. The self levelling suspension gave a ride that is a match for a modern day Jag. Power from the huge 6.75 litre V8 was described as “adequate,” certainly enough to waft this hefty car along in near silence. Prices start at £2,500 but a pristine 1977 model with a scant 80,000 miles under its belt can be yours for £8k.
For: Luxury, presence, value, quality
Against: Doesn’t do corners, too many are used as wedding cars
Rolls Royce Camargue (1975 to 1986)
The Camargue is a 2 door coupe based on the floor pan and mechanicals of the Silver Shadow. The Pininfarina styled body is timelessly elegant and hugely luxurious. In 1976 this was the most expensive car in the world and the fact that only 500 were made makes it extremely collectible. Even so, I found a truly immaculate 1982 model with 64,000 miles on it for £43k. That may seem like an awful lot of money but this is a car that is only going to increase in value.
For: Glorious looks, immense style, a sound investment
Against: You’d probably never drive it
Rolls Royce Silver Spirit (1980 to 1998)
The Silver Spirit was a new car for a new age. The 80s were all about brash, go getting entrepreneurialism and this new Roller reflected that with its monolithic, in-your-face styling. It was as big as the QE2 and as luxurious as Donald Trump’s penthouse suite. The owner was more likely to be boss of his own company than a titled landowner and more likely to be behind the wheel than sitting in the back. Unfortunately, it was based on the same mechanicals as the Silver Shadow and retained the same aversion to corners and lack of performance. This might explain the falling rock depreciation – these days you can pick up a ’93 model that has been barely run in over 49,000 miles for £7,500.
For: Huge comfort, road presence, the bargain of the century
Against: Rather ugly, massive running costs
Rolls Royce Silver Seraph (1998 to 2002)
By the time the Silver Seraph came on the scene, Rolls Royce had fallen into Volkswagen ownership (they kept the Bentley brand and sold the Rolls Royce name to BMW). The engine was a 5.4 litre BMW V12 that finally gave the car the power it deserved. The electronics, equipment and running gear were all state of the art, but a lot of the craftsmanship that was a Rolls Royce hallmark had been lost. Visually, it was sleeker, curvier and more compact than anything that had gone before. Unfortunately, those compact dimensions also extended to the interior. You can pick up a ’98 model with a minimal 74k on the clock for £28,000; not bad for a car that cost £155k when new.
For: Looks, sophistication, ride comfort, road manners
Against: It’s really a high end Beamer
ome would argue that our weather has never been the same since we started putting things up in space – including tons of metal ‘cans’ and the odd (and slightly reluctant) chimp and stray dog. Others would blame the wrath of the gods demanding some sort of sacrifice, or even an aberration of the sunspot cycle. I had this very debate only the other night in the local pub when, after much mirth and nine pints of foaming ale, it was finally decided that Wayne Rooney was the most likely culprit!
As I write this, it is a gorgeous August day outside – perfect for lazing in a deck chair with an ice-cold drink and a decent paperback – but absolutely hopeless if you’re trying to nurture a newly planted border. I can’t remember the last time we had a consistent downpour to quench the ravenous thirst of my herbaceous borders. The Phlox and Helianthus are not looking good at all and most of the shrubs, such as Camellias, that enjoy a dampish root run are looking decidedly miserable.
Clearly I’m not the only keen gardener lamenting the lack of rainfall this summer in Sutton Coldfield and the rest of the UK, the topic is probably second only to the re-launch of Big Brother in the ‘irrelevant conversation’ rankings. People are also talking about an early autumn this year – presumably because all their trees and shrubs are busy shedding leaves to help preserve any last vestiges of moisture. Realistically, it is a persistent drought that we are experiencing but, thankfully, in most cases the damage is normally only temporary and most plants should recover next season with few apparent problems. In much the same way as last winter’s devastation of anything slightly tender, where plants have been left in situ they normally show dramatic signs of recovery given time.
The problem is what do we do in the future? Do we keep persevering with our typical English garden favourites, or do we throw the towel in and accept that we really have been “globally warmed?!” In that case, we might as well start stocking up on sun-lovers such as Lavenders, Cistus and a few Cactii for dramatic interest. Personally, I’m not convinced that our fair land will become the first European desert, but I do think that our weather has been ‘Wayne Rooneyed’ and we are in for more erratic and dramatic weather patterns. This shouldn’t mean that we necessarily have to change what we grow, but it will mean that we have to be more aware that we could get caught with our trousers down with intensely cold weather or, as is currently happening, longer periods of drought conditions. With a bit of judicial planning it will still be possible to garden the ‘English’ way and the use of organic matter in the soil, mulches and companion planting will certainly help fight the effects of reduced rainfall. Equally, by having the right sort of protection measures such as cloches and some rolls of horticultural fleece, we can save some of the more tender species, provided you remember to keep an eye on the weather forecast/ pine cone and don’t mind a bit of extra work to wrap your charges up nice and snugly!
Apologies to anyone who thinks I’ve just joined the predictable ranks of the “English Weather Whingers” – I try to be a bit different but, when it comes down to the welfare of my precious plants, then I probably do get a tad defensive. Not sure if it would help but I may even go so far as enlist the local Druid faction to organise a proper Rain Dance – partners please!
Garden Consultant and Rain Dancer
Article provided by Walmley Pages Magazine in Sutton Coldfield
For the past couple of weeks the media has been dominated by stories about the hacking scandal. Of course, this story is all about the illegal hacking of voicemail on mobile phones rather than computers or websites, but that isn’t to say that hacking websites isn’t a major issue at the moment. In fact, as part of the phone hacking scandal, the Sun’s website was hacked and a false story about Rupert Murdoch being found dead was planted on the site.
Of far more significance is the hacking of the Sony PlayStation site a few months ago in which the account details of over 100 million users were taken. More alarmingly, thousands of credit card details were also allegedly stolen. At the same time, one of the CIA websites was hacked as was that of SOCA, the Serious Organised Crime Agency. The question is should Sutton Coldfield residents be worried?
On the face of it, there are serious grounds for concern. Millions of us use internet banking and, with the unstoppable growth of online shopping, there are countless online credit and debit card transactions every day. Surely, if it is so simple to hack into commercial websites, we are at constant risk of having our money stolen. In reality there is no reason to panic. The first thing to consider is the motivation of the people doing the hacking. Most of the large scale attacks reported in the news recently have been performed by a group called Anonymous, a loose alliance of hackers located all over the globe. In the past couple of years a faction of Anonymous called LulzSec has emerged; LulzSec claimed responsibility for the Sony attack, hacking the Sun website and several others besides. The hackers’ aims are political rather than criminal; invariably they are targeting the organisation that owns the website rather than its customers.
The next issue is the level of security on the websites that are targeted. Sony was hacked by means of an SQL attack, a fairly unsophisticated technique that has been around for years. To have credit card details stored on a site with such a low level of security is not going to inspire a lot of confidence but Sony argue that the primary purpose of the PlayStation site is to enable users to play games against each other, not to conduct ecommerce. Internet banking has an extremely high level of security. As well as username and password protection there is usually a one time code security device and, in addition, most banks also provide free anti fraud software to stop the baddies getting their hands on your hard earned loot. Ecommerce sites are similarly secure. As long as there is a padlock sign to the right of the URL bar you can be confident that the site is pretty much un-hackable. Once again, most banks and credit card companies offer additional security software; Capital One, the credit card provider, is currently working on security software that will be future proof for the next twenty years.
Of course, if someone can steal your card details without your knowledge, from the Sony PlayStation website for instance, they could potentially use your card to buy goods and services online. First they would have to get through the anti fraud security and, even then, the liability for any losses would lie with your bank or card provider. The greatest danger still lies in fisching, sending fraudulent emails to get Sutton Coldfield residents to provide their account details. Remember, no bank or card provider will ever send an email asking for your logon details. The only people who are really at risk from the hackers are the owners of the websites who may well not want their dirty laundry aired in public as Wikileaks is prone to do. It is little surprise that Anonymous and Wikileaks are closely aligned.
Mexico is a collision of different civilisations and their traditions. From the Aztec Mayan Ruins and Colonial towns to Spanish oriented music and dance, you will definitely get value for money when it comes to Mexican culture. Cancún has transformed over the years from a small fishing town to Mexico’s most renowned visitor destination since Acapulco. It boasts searing sunshine, white beaches, Margaritas, Tequila and Pina Coladas! Although it is a sunbather’s paradise, I was venturing to a part of Mexico that promised to have retained its authentic feel whilst still attracting the tourists from around the world, including Sutton Coldfield.
Playa del Carmen has kept its buildings almost all ‘low rise’, retaining the local town feel. Amongst the global brands are boutique hotels like Luna Blue, La Tortuga and Fusion that are well worth a cocktail visit, even if you are staying elsewhere. Despite the resort catering for huge numbers every season, Cancún’s fishing village heritage is still evident and is mirrored heavily in the work produced by a number of artists exhibiting there.
The south of Cancún is much more cosmopolitan, so you really have a style to suit all; however, neither extremity beats the history and architecture of colonial Valladolid. You can even choose from salt and fresh water snorkelling lagoons at Xcaret and Xel Ha, such is the variety on offer. Tempting as it may be to lie on the white beach and roast, I cannot advocate travelling around and exploring enough; within an hour you could be in a fishing village or a cocktail bar and, from there, visit colonial churches and even ancient Aztec ruins.
‘Playa’, as the locals call it, is the perfect place to kick back and relax with a Tequila ‘boom-boom’ (a shot containing Tequila, Grenadine and Lemonade slammed down in front of you) followed by a Pina Colada. The food is abundant and wonderful; hotels usually provide a 24 hour food and drink service but if you are feeling adventurous there is plenty to choose from: La Cueva del Chango has a fabulous outdoor jungle setting for the restaurant and Playa Maya serves up a tantalising Octopus Taco!
Aside from the historical exploration, there is an ample selection of organised day trips on offer. We chose one based at a theme park, organised by Xplor, which boasted 2 miles of zip wiring, driving a 4×4 through the jungle and cave rafting. Health and safety is really kept to a minimum so you can get on and have some fun but, just for the record, hitting two trees and a couple of rocks is pushing it when defending your driving ability.
Leaving Mexico, and dreading the eight hour long flight home to Sutton Coldfield, I wondered whether I had forgotten something. The region has variety in a way I have never found in just one country before and its past is so well preserved that you can plainly see each stage of its development. I kept going through in my head the details of each and every temple, town, village, lagoon and beach I had visited but, somehow, it always feels like Mexico has a little bit more tucked away, ready and waiting for your next visit.
Corralejo, in the north of the island, has a main strip not unlike Blackpool that comes complete with a veritable extravaganza of Chinese, Indian and Italian restaurants; you would have to walk at least fifteen minutes to find paella. When you do finally reach the end of the glittering runway, you are rewarded with views over the marina which melt the trip down the promenade into a distant memory. Go to the top end of the town with its white stone buildings, small tapas bars and yachts at every turn and you realise that this is where the brochure pictures were taken.
If you are looking for lush, extravagant evenings in traditional restaurants, then you are in the wrong place. Thinking we’d made a terrible mistake, we wet-suited up and flippered our way down to the beach where my whole attitude changed. Within minutes of starting our snorkel we spotted Parrot Fish, white and Zebra Sea Bream, Sargo and a Culebre (an eel that looks just like a sea snake!) Fuerteventura, literally meaning strong wind, is perfect for wind surfing, kite surfing and sailing. Once you have hurdled the porpoise-like, russet coloured bodies on the beach, the coastline is a cocktail of vessels, sails and boards with which you can harness the area’s best asset.
After a few days of water sports our legs were aching. We had tried to get onto a coach trip to Jandia on the south of the island, but unfortunately this was too complex an arrangement for the hotel staff. Luckily the car rental people were much more agreeable and we were behind the wheel of a Nissan Micra before you could say ‘shoddySpanishholiday’. As chief map reader, I decided to shun the main roads in favour of the scenic route. Driving on the island is very much like an extremely limited safari, goats everywhere and a few camels tied together by the side of the road with the occasional chipmunk squashed in the middle. Our progress was broken only by my partner’s occasional whimpering as we climbed rapidly and realised that we really should have hired a 4×4. Quashing this thoroughly non-British attitude we continued, at times in fear of our lives, onwards and upwards. The reward was impressive; a vast, empty national park complete with bronze statues of Ayos and Guize and views over the sea to the land masses beyond.
Reaching Moro Jable, and contemplating events over a beautifully grilled bream at Leo’s fish bar, I felt somewhat cheated that its Palm Beach presentation was not mirrored up North. I am very open-minded; I had looked for canaries with my camera, eaten goat (fatty lamb), tried the local speciality (unbelievably salty baked potatoes) and yet I still couldn’t figure out why Fuerteventura is a year in, year out favourite destination for Sutton Coldfield residents.
It’s fair to say that the North has three attractions; the Sirena beach bar for its seafood and sumptuous Moroccan décor, the water sports and the unconscious sense of the comic. Only in the North would you be introduced to a man who dubs himself a wine connoisseur, after describing his tipple as “er, red.” They are comfortingly generous with spirits measures though, especially in el Blanco café – supplier of the strongest Mojitos known to man. Maybe this is deliberate as everything did seem a little easier on the eye as we walked back. The West African heat is obviously addictive for travellers who return year after year but surely that isn’t enough to be losing your head over? My advice is to enjoy the water sports and the sun but take the rest with a good pinch of Canarian salted potato.
Some say that the French style of food is a little dated and does not belong in today’s culinary catalogue; however, there is no denying the great taste and combinations you find in many French dishes. Here is a classic peasant dish, particularly popular with the workers on the vineyards of France, also popular witth residents of Sutton Coldfield. Remember the golden rule for cooking with wine: If you would not drink it, do not cook with it.
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
25g/ 1oz butter
160g/ 6oz shallots, halved
160g/ 6oz streaky bacon, cut into strips
4 garlic cloves, crushed
300g/ 10oz button mushrooms
Sprig of thyme
500ml/ 16fl oz red wine (Burgundy or Shiraz)
500ml/16fl oz chicken stock
1 Chicken cut into 8 pieces
Salt and black pepper
1. Heat a thick bottomed pan, add the butter and fry the shallots until browned, then add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms and bacon, brown slightly and then pour in the wine and stock. Put in the chicken pieces and thyme, then bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
3. Remove the chicken and reduce the liquid by a quarter, put the chicken back into the sauce, season and serve with sauté potatoes or crusty bread.
Roy Wood – Restauranteur
I find that many people confuse bumblebees with honeybees. Species of Bumblebee come in various shapes, sizes and colours but are generally the large and round (ish) ‘furry’ ones, unlike honeybees which are the same size and shape of wasps. They do not produce honey as such, so unfortunately beekeepers are not interested in removing them. Bumblebees like honeybees, are diminishing in numbers and should be left alone if possible. Although they look rather intimidating, they are in fact quite placid and very rarely sting. They are also difficult to kill using the conventional methods, as their ‘fur’ protects them from the insecticide. A common place for them to nest is in garden rockeries or compost heaps, and if a customer decides that they cannot live with their presence I am able to dig out the nest and re-locate it in places such as Sutton Park , New Hall Valley , or Plantsbrook. If however they are nesting inside a wall cavity or under a floor (often using an air brick as the entrance) it is extremely difficult to deal with them. There are sometimes ways of getting round this though. I’ve had instances where they were nesting under the floorboards and accessing through an airbrick near to a door or window. A simple solution to this was to temporarily cover the air brick thus forcing them to use another air brick further round the house and away from the door/window.
Another common place for bumblebees is underneath garden sheds and I had some last year that were flying in and out from under a shed right next to the children’s sandpit, and the householders were concerned that their kids may get stung. The simple solution of placing a plank along that side of the shed meant that the bees instead used the other side, well away from the children’s play area.
If you wish to take any of these actions yourself, do not under any circumstances block the entrances of bees or wasps unless you are certain that they have an alternative way in or out. I’ve lost count of the number of cases I’ve come across where someone has blocked a hole thinking that bees inside will then die. Instead they will almost certainly find an alternative and very often one that leads to the inside of the house, and before they know it their house is full of very angry and desperate bees or wasps. With one such case I came across a couple of years ago, a lady had over a thousand bees inside her kitchen.
Another reason to consider leaving bumblebees alone is that unlike wasps which are active until October, bumblebees are not around as long and have usually finished by mid to late August.
If you would like any advice regarding bumblebees, honeybees, wasps or in fact any pests, please give me a call and I will be glad to help.
Article supplied by Neil Barnett of Pest Free Solutions of Sutton Coldfield, Director, National Pest Technician’s Association
Pest Free Solutions, Sutton Coldfield ; Tel 313 3305
The Isles of Scilly are theUK’sTreasure Islandparadise. Tresco is located about 30 miles off the coast of Cornwall; just drive south west until you run out of land and then find a helicopter! This may sound a bit dramatic but, trust me, the journey over the beautifully sculptured granite islands affords you the best views of the white beaches and turquoise waters that you’ll see all holiday. This death defying arrival at the Heliport in Tresco captures the care-free attitude of the island perfectly. With no cars and a minute population, all of whom work in the tourist industry; you can absolutely leave everything behind you and relax.
Airport transfers are thrown in; a tractor towing a passenger trailer arrives, in its own time, to deliver you at your chosen spot of respite for your stay. Our cottage was gloriously wonky, sparkling white and furnished to the standard of a glossy interiors magazine shoot; we were well stocked in the throws, cushions and quirky kitchen equipment departments. Even though the weather was fine we lit our wood burning stove as soon as we arrived, simply because it was there. Soon afterwards we were forced to fling open the French windows for fear of boiling alive, only to discover that we had a spectacular sea view, something I cannot recall paying any extra for.
Tresco has an art gallery, a gift shop, a pub and a post office and… that’s it! I certainly wouldn’t recommend this holiday to frequenters of another well known ‘white isle’. Despite being extremely quiet, for better or for worse, it is easy to see how this island has had such an impact on literature, art and film. It is dramatic in its range of botanicals and there is no greater example of this than at theTrescoAbbeyGardens. The tropical plant life, June’s average of 229 hours of warm sunshine and the crashing sea make for a real desert island experience. Optimistically, I bought some seeds of the island plant varieties from the gift shop; realistically, I can’t see them growing under the grey skies of theMidlands.
The island offers little in the way of choice restaurant-wise. If you want a selection of exotic global cuisine right on your doorstep then you’d better give the Scilly Isles a miss. The few pubs and hotels it does have, however, are excellent. The New Inn, Tresco, does pub food very well indeed and is enough of a restaurant to provide a luxurious break from self-catering; especially when it is your partner’s turn to cook. I was pleasantly surprised with the service too, I expected a ‘this is the best your going to get, where else are you going to go?’ sort of attitude but instead the staff were well versed in addressing customers’ needs and provided a wealth of advice on things to do during our stay.
The island is almost too beautiful as it seems to have had a Siren effect on ships throughout history. There have been hundreds of shipwrecks on the rocks around Tresco. You can visitValhalla, a strange and melancholic gallery of the figureheads recovered from these vessels. Although visually impressive, the stories behind them are poignant. This shouldn’t put you off from exploring the stunning waters around Tresco. The sailing club has dinghies or day boats for hire for competent sailors to use.
Tresco may be tiny but it is the little things that make a difference. Every person we met, whether resident or tourist, was having a splendid time, everything we did turned out to be far better than we’d anticipated and every time we faced a longish walk we were picked up in a golf cart and whizzed off to our destination. The island is still owned by one family – you can tell because it was like staying over at a relative’s.
Designing and wording your Sutton Coldfield magazine advertisements
Magazine adverts can produce fantastic results especially in nice areas such asSutton Coldfield
But beware magazine advertisement can be difficult to get right
• Your magazine advertisement has to generate a desire to act quickly / immediately!
• Headlines must be creative and pack a punch.
• Your sales message and the product which you are offering has to be clear & concise
• Your advertisement must create a strong desire for the user to call you rather than your competitors
• Create the impression that you are easy to contact, and a nice person to deal with
Does your advert pass the Think Big test?
If you are looking to advertise your business inSutton Coldfieldthere are a few rules that you really should follow, over the coming months Think Big Publishing will be providing tips on how to advertise your business and grab the attention of theSutton Coldfieldpublic.
What do you think the most important part of your advertisement is? Your telephone number? Your address?
What stands out in your advertisements ? If it’s your company name or logo ?
The most important thing is THE HEADLINE!!
Without an attention grabbing headline it won’t matter much how great your business or latest offer is as few will ever read it.
Think Big Tip :The main objective of a headline is to get the reader to read the first paragraph of your Sutton Coldfield advertisement. Your headline should be big, bold, and easy to read. But more importantly, it must entice the reader to read on.
How do you know you have a powerful headline to attract the Sutton Coldfileld public?
Would people be impressed if they saw your headline in isolation? i.e
“Ace cleaning, great service and hard working For details,
call 0121 354-0000.
This is pretty uninspiring
“6 Things You Must Know Before employing a cleaner”
Free Report or advice call 0121 354-0000″.
This works as people are likely to call this number before calling a competitors, they need to know these 6 things before they appoint anyone!
Another advertising tip is to arouse curiosity.
I.e “What Your financial advisor Doesn’t Want You To Know”
Use powerful attention-grabbing words.
ie Guaranteed, New, Now, Warning
Example: “WARNING: Credit Card Users ARE Paying To Much”